UK Parliament seizes internal Facebook documents

UK Parliament seizes internal Facebook documents

UK Parliament seizes internal Facebook documents

The documents reportedly contain revelations Facebook has been fighting to keep out of the public domain relating to the company's data and privacy policies that led to the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, The Observer newspaper in London reported Saturday.

The papers also include correspondences between Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives.

A Serjeant at Arms, a parliamentary official, was sent to his hotel and told businessmen Ted Kramer he had two-hours to hand over the documents. The executive was escorted to Parliament and warned he risked fines and imprisonment if the documents were not surrendered. This is an unprecedented move but it's an unprecedented situation.

Facebook has been pushing back a lot recently especially since the Cambridge Analytica scandal that raised serious privacy concerns around the world. They could help provide information on the decisions made before the breach on how user data was handled.

While Facebook says it complies with European Union data protection laws, a special hearing of MPs from several countries around the world in London criticised Zuckerberg for declining to appear himself to answer questions on the topic.

British lawmaker Damian Collins - who is the chairman of the DCMS committee tasked with investigating disinformation and assembled the global coalition - told NBC News Zuckerberg was "frightened of being exposed".

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Taking on the American courts, using arcane procedures that have not been employed in living memory and getting involved in a case where a plaintiff seems to be arguing that Facebook was too strict about the use of data certainly seems risky. Members of the parliament used their legal powers to confiscate those documents from the founder of a defunct app developer Six4Three which is trying to sue Facebook.

A spokesperson for Facebook told NBC News late Saturday that "the materials obtained by the DCMS committee are subject to a protective order of the San Mateo Superior Court restricting their disclosure".

The files can not be made public in the United States as they are subject to an order of the California superior court.

Allan appeared after the committee's chairman, Damian Collins, took the unusual move of seizing a trove of confidential internal Facebook documents from a visiting US tech executive.

The social media company has now asked the DCMS committee to refrain from reviewing those documents and to return them to counsel or to Facebook.

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